The recent atrocities in the fight against the Taliban extremist group in Farah province that killed at least 147 innocent civilians wouldn’t have happened had the Afghan and coalition forces ordered the villagers to evacuate first before engaging the enemies in combat.
In a fight like this, the enemies would always have the desperate attempt to put the lives of innocent civilians at stake if only to escape the advancing government forces from eradicating all of them. Of course, the only recourse in that uncanny situation was to use the civilians as human shields, if only to make the coalition forces who are to make a kill think twice before unleashing their might of power against the enemies.
Perhaps, it would have been a military policy that whenever a certain village or community is locked up in a firefight between soldiers and extremists, the first thing that comes to mind among the military officials was to let the civilians flee from the scene to escape being caught in the crossfires. In this way, government forces will have the real option to pin down the enemies. Unless the enemies would blend in with the civilian population in order to escape is a cat-and-mouse game that the Afghan coalition forces should think about and use their strategic military edge to outwit the enemies.
As in any insurgency campaign by any government around the world, containing the activities of the rebel forces is the most difficult task the military could ever do, especially in strange and rugged terrains where most of the foot soldiers are not accustomed to tread, even if it’s part of their psychological warfare and trainings.
And I don’t think it will require the expertise of a military strategist to introduce warfare tactics, without putting any civilian casualties on the line, before any war could be launched. Any educated professional, especially those who have taken up military training in college, could simply use his common sense to judge as to whether the military operations being made in a problematic area is acceptable or not.